By Vanessa Bush
April 15, 2012
Gilbert is still serving time in the maximum-security prison, Attica, for his involvement in the disastrous 1981 Brinks robbery to finance activities of the radical Weather Underground. In this fascinating memoir, he recalls his background as a nice Jewish boy from suburban Boston, who arrived at Columbia University just as antiwar protests were morphing into protests against racism and other social injustices. Gilbert chronicles his journey to activism from youthful indignation at social injustices ranging from religious and racial bigotry to the inequities of capitalism. He analyzes the politics of the era, discusses the revolutionary fervor that crystallized against the Vietnam War, explores the mistakes and triumphs of the radical Left, and offers encouragement to those still engaged in progressive causes. Interspersed throughout are personal reflections of coming-of-age in the movement, including details of Gilbert’s relationship with fellow radical Kathy Boudin and the challenges of parenting their son, Chesa, from behind bars. As the occupy movement gains in cachet, readers will appreciate this intensely personal and historical perspective on the protest movement that defined a generation, offered by one of its leading activists.